Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council is delighted to host a photographic exhibition entitled ‘Frank Browne: A Life Through the Lens’ which will run in dlr LexIcon until 17 October 2015, and has been curated by David and Edwin Davison.
Frank Browne took his first photographs during a European tour in 1897, just before joining the Jesuits. These pictures convey something of the remarkable talent of a man who was to emerge as the most significant Irish photographer in the first half of the twentieth century. In 1912, his Titanic photographs brought international fame and by 1916, he was a WW1 chaplain to the Irish Guards. In 1921 he took his final vows and, still suffering from war wounds, he went to Australia to recuperate and made a superb series of photographs of life in that country. On his return to Ireland, he continued to record aspects of Irish ways of life both personal and corporate which, when added to his pictures of Europe and England, constitute a fascinating interpretation of a rapidly evolving world. He was active in the photo-exhibition world and wrote articles for ‘The Kodak Magazine’. During this time he made 41,500 negatives. He died in 1960 and his work was largely forgotten.
In 1985, Fr E.E. O’Donnell S.J. came upon the trunk containing the negatives and quickly recognised that the pictures were exceptional, but in many cases were deteriorating. This necessitated urgent action to conserve, duplicate and catalogue the entire collection. Edwin and David Davison of Davison and Associates carried out this work and now market the collection worldwide.
For 25 years they have believed that a definitive publication of Browne’s finest artistic works selected for their intrinsic merit alone would bring the photographer’s work to a worldwide audience. All these images have been re-mastered to print at a quality not possible twenty-five years ago and do justice to Browne’s marvellous photographs. These pictures form the basis of this exhibition, which in conjunction with the Yale University Press publication ‘Frank Browne, A Life Through the Lens’ will position him in his rightful place as one of the most significant photographers of the twentieth century.
The exhibition was launched by An Cathaoirleach, Councillor Barry Saul on Tuesday 11 August 2015. Speaking on the night, An Cathaoirleach said: “In this camera phone era, Fr Browne's unique style of photography is refreshing and provides us with a unique glimpse of the past. The richness of the images on display is perfect for the unique environment of the LexIcon”
A talk by David Davison, curator of the exhibition and co-editor with Edwin Davison of ‘Frank Browne: A Life Through the Lens’ will be held in the Studio Theatre, dlr LexIcon on Thursday 13August at 6.30pm. No booking required – seats on a first come first served basis. Tours of the exhibition will be held on Saturdays 22 Aug, 5 and 19 September and 2 October at 12.00 midday. These tours will last 40 minutes. No booking required.